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  CSPAN    Key Capitol Hill Hearings    Series/Special. Speeches from policy makers  
   and coverage from around the country. (Stereo)  

    October 31, 2013
    2:00 - 4:01pm EDT  

is denying a hand in front of your face, because this is what's happening before our eyes. now, there was a comment about some constraints we might deal with, and i will touch on that briefly stated we will leave this program at this point. you can see it in its entirety at our website. go to going live to capitol hill as the u.s. and its gaveling back in after being in recess for about an hour.
the presiding officer: the senator from massachusetts. mr. markey: madam president, i have nine unanimous consent requests for committees to meet during today's session of the senate. they have the approval of the majority and minority leaders. i ask unanimous consent that these requests be agreed to and that these requests be printed in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. markey: madam president, i request to speak as if in morning business for up to ten minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. markey: thank you. madam president, i come to the floor today to discuss the first policy focus legislation i am introducing as a senator. i believe it will be a windfall on massachusetts and a windfall on the nation, but before i do so, i'd like to comment briefly about another win last night for massachusetts and for red sox nation everywhere. behind the mighty bat of big
papi, the tireless and tough arms of jon lester and john lackey and the incredible power of the beard, this unlikely red sox team took us from last in the division to first in the world. while many of us in -- for many of us in massachusetts, this wasn't just about baseball, because on patriots day when the sox play in the morning and new england comes together for a day of celebration, evil visited our city at the boston marathon this year. and while this team can't bring back the lives we lost or heal the wounds inflicted, it did what no other team besides the red sox can do. it reaffirmed our common bond in massachusetts, in new england and with red sox nation fans everywhere. it's often said that baseball is a game of inches, but it is also a game that can span miles, bringing people together across entire communities and cultures,
bridging differences and building friendships. that's what red sox baseball did for boston, for massachusetts and for new england this year when we needed it the most. the red sox gave us the chance to all raise our hands in triumph once again together as one. the red sox came back to win in a dozen games that they never gave up on. they fought to the last pitch in every game, showing the resilience that reflected the response of an entire city and region after the marathon tragedy. and in doing so, they gave us so much more than entertainment. they gave us hope, something to cheer for, and something else to talk about at a time of deep sadness in our region. as the song says, don't worry about a thing because ever little thing's going to be all right. well, watching the celebrations
last night in and around fenway and especially on boyleston street just a brief distance from the marathon finish reminds me of how proud i am to represent this great city and the commonwealth of massachusetts in the united states senate. the sox team that won the world series in 2004 allowed us to release 86 years of disappointment. this year's team allowed us to cheer again after months of mourning, and for that we congratulate and thank the 2013 world series champions, the boston red sox. and now, mr. president, -- madam president, as for the other win for massachusetts, today i am introducing my first major piece of legislation as a united states senator. my bill, the american renewable energy and efficiency act, will allow every single american to have access to clean energy and money-saving efficiency.
in our economic recovery, there has been one very bright spot in massachusetts and the national economy, the incredible growth of clean energy, energy efficiency and the jobs that come with these industries. according to the massachusetts clean energy center, our state alone has gained 20,000 jobs in these sectors since 2010, with another 10,000 new jobs expected in the next year alone. massachusetts has become the nation's most energy-efficient state. boston is ranked as the nation's most energy-efficient city. our shores will host the first offshore wind farm with a new construction terminal built in new bedford, allowing our fishermen to work alongside our wind energy workers. massachusetts is number seven in the nation in deploying solar energy, even though we're more well known for the perfect storm
than perfectly sunny days. these advances, these jobs, these technologies have flourished in massachusetts because we have set the right policies and encouraged our companies to lead. massachusetts governor deval patrick set high goals for clean energy in our state and we have already surpassed them. boston mayor tom men even owe wanted -- menino wanted boston to be known as green for just more than the green monster in fenway park, and he has delivered. boston is now the greenest city in the united states. that's why i am introducing my first bill as a united states senator, to take our massachusetts leadership and make it national. my bill would require that electricity sold to american consumers increasingly be generated using renewable sources like wind and solar,
hydro, geothermal and biomass. by 2025, the bill would require 25% of our electricity to come from the free fuel of the sun, the wind and the earth. and since the cheapest and cleanest power plant is the one we never have to build, my bill would also require utilities to put people to work on large-scale energy efficiency programs. my bill would build on the efforts of massachusetts and the 30 other states that already require utilities to provide customers with minimal amounts of renewable electricity and ensure that america joins the 118 other nations that have already established renewable energy goals. my bill would quadruple renewable energy production in the united states. it would create more than 400,000 new jobs. we can put steelworkers and iron
workers and electricians back to work building the new energy backbone for america from massachusetts to montana. the energy efficiency measures in my bill would save the average household $39 per year on utility bills, and it would reduce carbon dioxide pollution by the equivalent output of 120 coal-fired power plants, helping our efforts to battle the advancing tide of dangerous climate change. our renewable electricity standard passed the house of representatives twice while i was a member of the body. as recently as 2009. and it has passed the senate three times since 2002. before it was held hostage over the affordable care act, the shaheen-portman energy efficiency bill showed that there is real bipartisan support for energy efficiency here in the senate.
these are policies that should be embraced and not blocked. and if we do not take these steps, we will lose the international race to dominate the multitrillion dollar clean energy sector. right now, china has already overtaken the united states as the number one most attractive place to invest in renewable energy. 60% of all new companies going public in the clean energy sector are doing so in china. more than 100,000 clean energy jobs are being created there annually. china now has more wind capacity installed than any other country, and they produce two-thirds of the world's solar panels. it is time for our country to scale up our clean energy deployment and innovation. it is also time to take a look at revolutionary approaches to driving that innovation. all too often, we are unable to
move clean energy related discoveries and breakthroughs out of the labs and into the marketplace. that's the problem that my clean tech consortia legislation addresses. i have included this bill as part of the manufacturing jobs in america initiative launched this week by senator coons and some of my democratic colleagues. my bill would fertilize america's innovation ecosystem so that scientific breakthroughs can more effectively navigate the so-called valley of death between the lab and the factory and reach their commercial potential. america's universities and research institutions are truly national treasures, and our venture capitalists and entrepreneurs are the sharpest of the world. when we sprinkle the right mix of scientific brainpower and capitalist drive, we get something uniquely american and extremely potent in terms of its economic impact. my clean tech consortia bill
which i will soon be introducing will link investors with inventors, professors with producers and get clean energy out of the laboratories and into the factories. that's the type of partnership we need with the private sector right now in our country. the other bill that i have introduced in -- in this package is the manufacturing jobs for america initiative in which i will build -- in which i will also be introducing soon, and it is called the build america bonds initiative. here's how it works and here's what it does. when a state or local government wants to build and renovate schools and bridges and roads and hospitals, they need financing and they issue a bond. investors buy those bonds, giving the state capital to hire workers and update infrastructure and investors get a return in the form of
interest. build america bonds says to state and local governments we will help with the interest payments and help put more americans back to work. from the inception of this program, in april, 2009, to when it expired at the end of 2010, there were 2,275 separate bonds issued nationwide which supported more than $181 billion of financing by new public capital infrastructure prongs such as bridges, schools and hospitals. build america bonds were a huge success in massachusetts. my state issued close to $5 billion in bonds. build america bonds helped finance massachusetts' accelerated bridge program which repaired and rebuilt hundreds of structurally deficient bridges. another example of projects included a new laboratory at umass amherst, a new courthouse at salem, a new building at
worcester state hospital. i plan to work with my good friends, senator wyden and congressman neal, both leaders on this issue to ensure we continue to invest in both our infrastructure and our future. these are the kinds of programs that will put america back to work. i want american workers to build and export wind turbines and solar panels that say made in america instead of the american economy importing millions of barrels of oil a day that say made by opec. i want american inventors dreaming up the newest energy technologies that convert patent applications for a prototype into job applications on the factory floor. i want american workers repairing our crumbling bridges, roads and schools. we are in a terrestial technology and manufacturing race -- the presiding officer: the senator's time has expired. mr. markey: madam president, may i have an additional 30 seconds to just finish my statement? the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. markey: i thank you.
we are in a terrestial technology and manufacturing race as important as the celestial race president kennedy began three years ago. these are three of the programs that will put america into a new economic orbit, looking down on our competitors. we should pass all three and put america back to work. i yield back the balance of my time. mr. cornyn: madam president? the presiding officer: the republican whip. mr. cornyn: madam president, i want to offer my congratulations to the senator from massachusetts for the world series victory of the boston red sox. i know it's a happy day in his state. madam president, i want to return to the issue of the d.c. circuit court of appeals because even though we had an earlier cloture vote where the senate decided to continue debate and not close off debate on this
issue, i anticipate that the majority leader will bring to the senate floor the other two nominees which have now cleared the senate judiciary committee for the three seats that president obama has said he wants to appoint and is asking for advice and consent of the senate. but i want to make sure we all understand exactly what this debate sau is all about. at this very moment, there are plenty of u.s. appellate courts that urgently need judges to handle their existing caseload. as my friend, the distinguished presiding officer, knows, former attorney general, there are a lot of district courts around the country that could use additional personnel because they are what are called "judicial emergencies" because they have just heavy caseloads and they need more help. so why in the world would we want to add more judges to a
court that doesn't have enough work for them to do? and that's exactly what this debate is all about. i.tit's not about the specific nominees. i.tit's not an ideological batte that we're all familiar with, so much as it is one of practical economics. between 2005 and 2013, the total number of written decisions per active judge on the d.c. circuit declined by 27%. so from 2005 to 2013, the number of written decisions per active judge went down by almost a third, 27%. and the number of appeals filed with the court went down by 18%. as of september 2012, both the total number of appeals filed with the d.c. circuit and the total number of appeals decided
by the d.c. circuit per active judge were 61% below the national average. you can see from this chart that's been prepared by the ranking member, senator grassley's office, how the 13 circuit courts of appeals compare when it comes to the number of cases or appeals filed per active judge. now, this is -- in red is the d.c. circuit court of appeals, ihas the lightest caseload of ay court in the nation. conversely, the 11th circuit out of the atlanta has 778 cases -- or appeals filed per active judge. so i don't know why you would want to take three new judges and assign them to the court with the lowest caseload per being aive judge. it makes absolutel -- per activ.
it makes absolutely no sense much the average for all 13 circuit courts is 3 83 cases or appeals filed per active judge. again, the average being for the entire nation 383 appeals per active judge. the d.c. circuit to which president obama wants to add three additional new judges, it's 149, almost a third. well, one other sort of unique thing about the d.c. circuit court of appeals, why man whilef these courts are very busy and indeed are overworked relative to the other circuit courts, like the d.c. circuit court, this is perhaps the only court in the nation that literally took a four-month break between may and september of this year. because they could. they didn't have enough work to
do, so they took a break, they took four months off between may and september. so the bottom line, madam president, is that this court is not one that needs more judges. in fact, one of the current members of the d.c. circuit told senator grassley, our colleague from iowa, he said -- quote -- "if anymore judges are added now, there wouldn't be enough work to go around." so what's this all about? why are my friends across the aisle ignoring the needs of other appellate court courts anr jurisdictions around the country that have, as the judicial office of judicial administration terms it "judicial emergencies" because they have so much work to do that they need help. why are my colleagues on the other side of the aisle ignoring those courts who have needs in favor of a court where there is no demonstrated need?
well, here's perhaps one reason why. the d.c. circuit court of appeals being located in washington, d.c., does have a unikunique caseload. i would say the decision -- the types of cases they consider are not particularly more complicated. i don't reallly buy that amplegt many of them are -- i don't really buy that argument. many of them are administrative appeals. usually it is an abuse of discretion standard, which is, as i say, very deferential. but the reason why the d.c. court of appeals is the subject of so much focus, whether it is a republican or democratic president, is because it's often called the second-most important court in the nation, by virtue of its docket,ed kinds o, the kf cases that it decides. this was a court that before the supreme court held portions of
the affordable care act constitutionalconstitutional, uh ultimately had the ability to overrule old cases and reach that ruvment but this court wields tremendous influence over regulatory and constitutional matters. and the truth is is and i'll somehow a few quotes in aempt mo, that senator reid and the president hope that by adding three more judges to the court they can transform it into a rubber stamp for the obama administration agenda. right now there's a balance on the court. there's four judges who were nominated by a republican president. there are four judges on the court nominated by a democratic president.
yet my friends across the aisle have been condemning the d.c. circuit court without justification, in my view. they've been condemning it as a bastion of partisanship. well, the facts just don't bear that out. as i said, remember, this is the same court that thrill uphold the president's -- that actually upheld the president's health care law as constitutional. and it's the same court that twice upheld the president's executive order on embryonic stem cell research of the and it is the same court that's ruled in favor of the obama administration in the majority of environmental cases that have come before it, including ones about the regulation of greenhouse gases and mountaintop coal mining. that sound like a court doing its job without fear or favor in an impartial way, administering justice, not engaging in crass
partisanship or tilting at ideological windmills. the critics of the crentsz court don't mention those decisions that i must mentioned when they're criticizing the court. instead, they appoint -- they bounty to three separate rulings where the obama administration did not fair so well. the first one of those was a ruling that struck down the securities and exchange commission proxy access rule, which has to do with corporate governance. now, i know that sound like a bunch of mumbo-jumbo. but the court found that the agency failed to conduct a proper quoft-benefit analysis. we all understand that wha that means. the statute actually requires the court to conduct a cost-benefit analysis, but the court didn't do t it ignored the letter of the law and the d.c. circuit ordered the administrative agency to follow the law and engage in that kind of cost-benefit analysis. the second ruling that the
critics of the current court point out came in august of 2012 when the court invalidated the environmental protection agency's cross-state air pollution rule saying it would impose massive emissions reductions requirements on certain states without regard to the limits imposed by the statutory test. in other words, when an administrative agency like the environmental protection agency issues rules and regulations, they don't do so in a vacuum or in a void. they're necessarily guided by the authority given to them and limitations imposed upon them by the laws that congress writes. now, they're free within that statutory mandate to write rules and regulations, but they're not free to ignore them or to engage in rule making that basically goes counter to the direction of congress. so in this case one cited by some of the critics, the court held the clean air act does not
give the e.p.a. boundless authority or unlimited authority to regulate emissions. so requiring the court -- a court requiring an administrative agency to work within its legal authority you thinithink is just common sense. otherwise you'd have administrative agencies free to chart their own path without the legitimacy conferred by congress in terms of regulation. and, remember, these administrative agencies are very powerful entities. some say they are eight fourth branch of -- they're the fourth branch of government. and there is a lot of concern that i have, that many people have, about overregulation and its damage to our economy. so the very least the courts ought to do is make sure that they're operating within their mandate and the limitations imposed on them by congress, and that's what the court did in the cross-state air pollution rule. by the way, texas was caught up in this rule-making process without even an opportunity to
be heard and to challenge the modeling of the environmental protection agency. so due process is a pretty fundamental notion in our laws, in our jurisprudence, and texas in that instance was denied any opportunity for basic due process of law. another reason why the court made the right ruling. well, the third case that has drown the ire of some critics across the aisle on the d.c. circuit court of appeals has to do with two presidential recess a30eu78appointments. no president has done what this president has done, and it violated the constitution when doing so. in other words, basically president obama said, notwithstanding the fact that the constitution gives advice and consent responsibility to the senate -- that's in the constitution -- the president basically in this instance decided when congress was going
to be in recess for purpose of invoking this extraordinary power and pavingly said that the president was going to decide -- and basically said that the president was going to decide when we were in recess and essentially, as some pundits said, basically the president was claiming an authority to be able to appoint judges using the recess appointment power when we're taking a lunch break. and that can't the law, and it isn't the law, and that's what the d.c. circuit court said. so the d.c. circuit court said that president obama's legal rationale for appointments and the role of the senate in advice and consent and the confirmation proceeding they said would -- quote -- "eviscerate the constitution's separation of powers" -- close quote. that's what the d.c. circuit said about president obama's claim to extraordinary power to make recess appointments and bypass the confirmation role of the united states senate in the constitution.
well, you might wonder that if the court has actually been pretty even handed in terms of its decision-making process, and you might wonder if it has the lightest caseload per judge in the nation -- and there are other courts that need the help a lot more, you might wonder what's going on here. why does president obama feel so strongly, why does senator reid feel so strongly, why does the distinguished chairman of the senate judiciary committee that i serve on feel so strongly that they want to move these three judges through, even though there's no need for these junls on the d.c. -- for these judges on the d.c. circuit court? well, i'm sorry to reach the conclusion you but i thin, but e evidence is overwhelming, twhat presiden-- that what the presids trying to do by nominating these judges to the second-most
powerful court in the narks is narks is he's trying to pack the court. i know my friends don't like that term, court packing. students of history remember when franklin delano roosevelt claimed the four appoint additional supreme court justices and that was held to be an unconstitutional court packing, but i don't know what else you would call this. if you're going to try to jam three additional judges on this court that are not needed, the second mouses important court in the nation, in order to change the outcome of these decision and to rubber stamp the administration's expansive policies, i don't know what else a cold you'd call it other than court packing. so i think a fair interpretation of court pack something when you add judges to a court for the explicit purpose of securing favorable rulings. and that's exactly what democrats are trying to do with
this -- with these nominations. madam president, i would ask unanimous consent for an additional two minutes. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. cornyn: so i'd like to quote our friend, senator reid, the majority leader of the united states senate, because he's very -- he's made his -- his conder is again remarkable and awfully clear. he said we're focusing very intently on the d.c. circuit. we need at least one more. by that he means one more judge. there's three vacancies. we need at least one more and that will switch the majority. so when all judges decide to sit on very -- on the most important cases, then president obama will have a court of nominees on that court and they'll be able to outvote the republican nominees on the court. so here's senator schumer. you can see he's complaining about some of the cases that i mentioned a moment ago. and he concludes, "we'll fill up
the d.c. circuit court one way or another." so, i believe that the evidence is overwhelming that the motivation at play here is, one, to make sure that this court becomes a rubber stamp for the big-government policies of this administration. that's why they're ignoring appellate courts that actually need the help and they're trying to stack the court in the second highest court in the land. and that's why they're also threatening -- we heard a little bit of that today -- rattling that saber once again, threatening the nuclear option to try to confirm judges with a simple majority rather than the 60-vote cloture requirement under the senate rules. so we have a good -- good-faith solution to this. this is senator grassley's bill which would reallocate these three unneeded judges to places where they're actually needed. this is the kind of idea that our colleagues across the aisle
embraced previously when one of the judges from the d.c. circuit was reallocated to the ninth circuit in 2007, i believe it was. so if our friends across the aisle continue to move ahead with their court-packing gambit, it will make this chamber even more polarized than it already is. i only hope they choose a different course, but this is why we're committed on this side of the aisle to stopping these nominations to these unneeded judges in these courts -- in this court and making sure that judges are placed where they are needed so they can engage in a fair and efficient administration of justice. madam president, i yield the floor. ms. stabenow: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from michigan. ms. stabenow: thank you, madam president. i want to enter into a colloquy with my great friend from missouri, senator blunt, but you have to say, i just have to make a comment first, if i might, if
my colleague will excuse me. i just have to say, i am amazed to hear that we're court-packing when what we're trying to do is fill three vacancies on a court. i didn't hear that before with -- with other presidents. so hopefully we can just fill vacancies and do it in a bipartisan way. madam president, i very much want to thank really a great friend and colleague, senator blunt, for joining me today on the floor and for joining me in leadership on some very important community mental health legislation. and i think we have a real opportunity to get something done and so with consent, we would like to proceed with a colloquy. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. stabenow: thank you. and we want to do this today because today marks the 50th anniversary to the day that president john f. kennedy signed into law the community mental health act.
the good news is, is he signed this act. the unfortunate news is that it was the last act he signed in his life. but we today want to recognize what that has meant to so many people across the country. this put in place the ability to serve people in the community that have mental health issues rather than just being in institutions. being able to serve people closer to home or at home, to be able to give them opportunity to get the help they need and still be active and successful in the community. i think so many of us have been touched by mental health issues, which, by the way, is part of physical -- it's not mental and physical health. i think it's about time, and i know my friend would agree, that we start treating illnesses above the neck differently than illnesses below the neck.
it's about comprehensive health care. but we've all been touched in some way. for me, my father went undiagnosed with bipolar disorder for ten years when i was growing up. when he finally got the help he needed, the medication he needed, he was able to work and be successful for the rest of his life. i want to make sure every family, madam president, has that opportunity. i know for president kennedy, it was his younger city, rosemary, who was institutionalized in the early 1940's that brought him to this issue, as well as other passionate concerns that he had as well. but senator -- president kennedy saw a way to improve the lives of people like his sister living with a mental illness by providing service in the community and, frankly, lowering the stigma on mental health. and we still have a long way to go there, on lowering the stigma and understanding that it is in most occasions a physiological
change in the brain, a chemical imbalance, something that needs to be treated appropriately and is not -- certainly not a choice by an individual. but president kennedy felt we needed to make sure we are providing the very best treatment for people in the community. and in his statement to congress, he wrote, "we need a new type of health facility, one which will return mental health care to the mainstream of american medicine and at the same time upgrade mental health services." we've worked together in a bipartisan way since then. the mental health parity and addiction equity act, which was championed by our friend and colleague, senator pete domeni domenici, and paul wellstone and ted kennedy and patrick kennedy in the house, became law, which said we have to have parity in how insurance companies treat mental health and physical health. i was pleased to get those provisions into health reform. but there's more to do and
that's why we're here. and so i want to turn to my friend from missouri, who has been a great partner on this, and ask, as we go forward, what your thoughts are on this day and what we should be doing to continue this important legacy. mr. blunt: well, first of all, let me do say i think this is a critical topic and it's a moment when there are many reasons we should be turning to it. as you said, senator stabenow, this is the day that 50 years ago president kennedy signed the community mental health act. he called it then a bold, new approach. and, frankly, while some things have happened in the 50 years since then and now, there haven't been many bold, new approaches in that 50 years. this is a topic that for whatever reason our society hasn't dealt with in ways that have been satisfactory in -- in making great changes. in fact, some of the things we've done in other areas have really made it harder for
communities and families to -- to work with people who have a behavioral challenge, to find out the information thank -- c c c person doesn't want to share -- information thank -- c c c thatn doesn't want to say they have a challenge. you have an ongoing commit to that adult son or daughter or mom or dad. you're part of what they're doing, you're paying bills, you're doing whatever. but the information you really would benefit from knowing about is just hard to get to. or the requirement that somebody follow up on a court-ordered procedure is difficult to enforce and make that happen. and i think this is one of the times when we really need to be thinking, what do we need to do to make this challenge work better. first of all, it's -- it's a widespread problem but it's not a problem that's untreatable. i think there's a -- there's one statistic i've seen -- in fact, it's the national institute of
mental health -- one in four adults suffer from a mental disorder that's diagnosissable and in -- dyin in almost all ca, it's treatable. so this is not something that has never happened to. this is something many people understand. many people have a challenge that never gets diagnosed, frankly. and the -- creating a way for that to happen, where we make it easier, we make it more comfortable, we make it affordable, whatever we're doing to allow that, in almost every case, treatable problem to be diagnosed and treatable is important. you know, one of the things that you and i started talking about really at almost the very first of this year -- we've been now talking about this for almost 10
months -- and, of course, it was after the tragedy at newtown. and the one thing we know for sure is that somebody that has a -- a mental health problem is much more likely to be the victim of a crime than they are to be the perpetrator of a cri crime. but the other thing we know is that as we look at these tragedies we've seen happen in our country in the last few years, that the one common denominator, whether it was in newtown or aurora or tucson or at the navy yard or virginia tech, whether it was at a supermarket or in a theater or on a college campus, the one thing that we saw in every case was this was somebody that had a behavioral problem, a mental health problem that hadn't been dealt with in the right way. and that really in many ways has turned the attention of the country back to a problem that for whatever reason w we'd justs
soon apparently not talk about. in fact, when the senate committee that deals with mental health had a hearing in january of this year on mental health, madam president, it was the first time since 2007 that there had been a senate hearing devoted to this topic. a topic, again, the national institutes of health says one out of four adults is challenged by. the senate in six years hadn't talked about it in any kind of official, focused way. and so that's why, senator stabenow, you and i have been working to try and, frankly, take advantage of the moment. and i think in the -- the principal piece of legislation we've been working on, the excellence in mental health act, we also have a model there that works. a couple of different things done and one, of course, was to expand the federally qualified health center concept to where
if you wanted to add behavioral health, you could under the same rules and regulations. and, frankly, you'd be walking in the same door that your neighbors were walking in. and we also created ways for community health centers, the very health centers that president kennedy's legislation that he signed created to -- to add some of the advantages to being a federally qualified center to being a community mental health center. and certainly your efforts in that -- and i know we both have stories to tell and other things we're working on as well -- but, you know, we've had great response from the -- the community mental health centers, great response from veterans. and you might want to talk about that a little bit, because i know you've particularly been engaged in a lot of these discussions with veterans' groups who say if -- if our veterans just had a place to go that was well -- that was close,
where their neighbors were going, perhaps, for some other kind of behavioral help. and we've got a wide base of support from our veterans' groups as well as our health care groups on this. ms. stabenow: well, and if -- the presiding officer: senator's time has expired. ms. stabenow: if we might ask for an additional two minutes. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. ms. stabenow: thank you. let me just add to what the senator from missouri has indicated because our veterans are coming home. we know that at least 200,000 of our veterans coming home will go into the community. and i see our distinguished chair of the senate veterans' committee on the floor right now. and thank you for all of your work. but in addition to the v.a. system, where we are strengthening mental health services, we know that many will come home to the community, they'll be looking to an outpatient clinic or they'll be look to someplace in the community for help. and so the reason we have strong
support from the iraq and afghanistan veterans' organization is because our excellence in mental health legislation which creates a behavioral health clinic model based on what has been done in community health that has worked so well, will create an opportunity for those veterans coming home to get support and help in the community. one of the most difficult numbers, statistics to talk about, is the fact that 22 of our veterans are committing suicide every day. 22 every day that. is unacceptable. we need to make sure that families, that veterans have the support that they need so that when they come home, they can get the help that they need. i am very proud of the fact we have about 50 organizations supporting the excellence in mental health act. sheriffs and police officers, because most likely if somebody needs help, they ends up in a jail -- end up in a jail or they end up in an emergency room.
they don't end up at a mental health facility. and so what we're proposing is something that would provide a 24-hour emergency psychiatric facility coupled with high-quality community mental health services. the time is now to do this. i would turn back for closing remarks to my friend from missouri. mr. blunt: let me say, i think in both of our states, we've seen our states lead in this. missouri's clearly been a pioneer in mental health efforts. our community health centers, many of them have added behavioral health in the last few years. there are other pieces of legislation out there that i think add to this mental health first aid where people who -- particularly dealing with young people can take a course and they don't become people who can deal with your problem, but they may help you recognize that you have a problem, and somebody needs to deal with this. i just agree with senator stabenow, the time is now, as we are probably beyond the time we should have done this, but we would be ill-advised to go
further down this road without looking at this system, figuring out how we can improve it. i think in the senate there are many bipartisan ideas, and i really believe that the excellence of the community health act is right at the top of that list, but we need to look at this and do it now, and i look forward to seeing something happen on this i hope between now and the end of the year. ms. stabenow: madam president, i would like with consent to put an entire statement into the record and thank again my friend from missouri for his commitment and working together with so many colleagues across the aisle on a bipartisan basis. i believe we will get this done, and we will now on this 50th anniversary of president kennedy signing the community mental health act complete the circle in terms of mental health parity in our country. the presiding officer: without objection. without objection. mr. sanders: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. sanders: first of all, i want to congratulate the senator from michigan and the senator from missouri for touching on
what is obviously a very, very serious national issue, and that is how we deal with the crisis of mental health in this country. i want to thank both of them for the work that they are doing. madam president, i want to say a few words as a member of the conference committee on the budget, which is hoping to avert another government shutdown and come up with a sensible long-term budget for our country. madam president, the first point that i would make is i am always amazed that when i return from vermont and come here to capitol hill, how different the world view is in here as it is to the real world whether it's vermont or when i travel other states around the country. it almost seems like we are living on two separate planets. as a member of the budget
committee, i understand, as do the american people, that a $17 trillion national debt and a $700 billion deficit is a serious issue that must be addressed, and the american people know that. do you know what else they understand? they understand that there is an even more important issue out there, and that is that real unemployment today is close to 14%, youth unemployment, an issue that the pope, pope frances is beginning to talk about a great deal in this country is approximately 20%. african-american youth unemployment is over 40%. and what the american people are saying is yes, deal with the deficit but do not forget that we continue to have a major economic crisis with millions and millions of americans unemployed and for many other
americans who are working their wages are deplorably low. we have millions of folks working for $8 or $9 an hour who cannot take care of their families under those wages. so while the middle class is disappearing and poverty today, the number of people living in poverty is at an all-time high, we also have another dynamic that we don't talk about too much here for obvious reasons, and that is the wealthiest people are doing phenomenally well. corporate profits are at record-breaking levels. and the gap between the very, very wealthy and everybody else is growing wider and wider. we are surrounded by lobbyists representing the wealthy and large corporations. they kind of like that discussion, so we don't talk about that too much, but it remains absolutely true. madam president, when i go home and talk to vermonters or i go
around the country, what people tell me and what the polls tell me is the american people, regardless of political persuasion, by the way, are in significant agreement about a lot of issues. you won't see that reflected here, but the american people are in significant agreements. if you ask the american people, i suspect in north dakota, vermont, maryland or anyplace else, do you think we should cut social security? do you think we should cut medicare, medicaid? do you know what the american people say overwhelmingly? no. these are tough economic times. poverty among seniors is going up. people are worried about health care costs. these programs are vital to the survival of so many of our people. do not cut social security, medicare and medicaid. that's not what bernie sanders is saying. that is what the american people are saying. that is what democrats are saying. that is what republicans are saying. that is what independents are saying. that is what people who agree
with the tea party are saying. not a whole lot of dispute outside of washington. inside washington, the picture becomes a little bit different, and we have virtually all republicans talking about cutting social security, medicare and medicaid, we have the president talking about cutting social security, medicare. we have democrats, some democrats talking about it. but that's not what the american people believe. according to the latest poll that i have seen on this issue, it was a national journal united technologies poll. 81% of the american people do not want to cut medicare, 76% of the american people do not want to cut social security, and 60% of the american people do not want to cut medicaid. so i have a very, very radical idea for my colleagues. hey, what about occasionally, don't overdo it, but occasionally listen to the people who sent us here, and that is that they don't want to cut these terribly important
programs. and second of all, what do the american people want? and what they want is that we invest in our infrastructure and we create the millions of jobs that we desperately need. according to a gallup poll, march 3, 2013, 75% of the american people -- that includes 56% of republicans, 74% of independents, 93% of the democrats support -- quote -- "a federal jobs creation program that would spend government money, designed to create more than a million new jobs." so the american people are saying, deficit is important, but more important is creating jobs, rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure is one way to do it. don't cut social security, medicare and medicaid. now, what else do the american people say? well, not too surprisingly, when we see so much income and health and inequality in america, the
american people do believe that when 95% of all new income in the last few years has gone to the top 1%, that maybe, given the fact that the wealthy are doing phenomenally well, maybe they might be asked to pay a little bit more in taxes. maybe we might want to end all of the corporate loopholes that currently exist. again, that's not bernie sanders. january 29, 2013, poll by hart research associates. 66% of the american people believe the wealthiest 2% should pay more in taxes, and 64% of the american people believe that large corporations should pay more in taxes than they do today. well, guess what? the american people have given us a solution to the major crises facing the american people. they will want to invest in our economy, they will want to create jobs, they want to ask the wealthy and large corporations to pay more in taxes. they do not want to cut social security, medicare and medicaid. that's the real world. then you come back to washington. what are people saying?
let's cut social security, medicare and medicaid, let's not invest in our infrastructure and create jobs, and in fact let's give more tax breaks to the wealthy and large corporations. so this is an alice in wonderland world. the american people are saying one thing and the lobbyists around here and many members of congress are saying something very different. madam president, when we talk about the deficit, which in my view is an important issue and we should be proud, by the way, that we have cut the deficit in half in the last few years. we have more to go but we should take some credit for that. it is very important for us to remember how we got to where we are today, $17 trillion national debt and a $650 billion or so deficit. and i find it interesting that some of those people who are most active in causing the deficit are now standing up
saying oh, i'm really worried about this deficit that i helped cause, and therefore we have to cut all these programs that all these working people and children and the elderly need. so let us take a brief look back into the recent past and find out how we got to where we are today and who voted for those programs. as i hope most americans know, in january, 2001, when president clinton left office and president bush took over, this country had a $236 billion surplus. $236 billion surplus. that is a quite large surplus. and what the congressional budget office projected is that the ten-year budget surplus would be a $5.6 trillion, it would be a huge increase in our budget surplus. the projections were very, very strong. in fact, they projected that we could erase the national debt by
2011. imagine that. that was where we were heading. well, bush took office. a number of things happened. we went to war in afghanistan and iraq. i voted for the war in afghanistan. i strongly opposed the war in iraq. but be that as it may, many of my friends who are great deficit hawks, they forget to pay for those wars. those wars are estimated to cost between -- somewhere around $6 trillion. so folks who are standing up saying gee, we just can't afford nutrition programs for children, they didn't have a problem voting for two wars and not paying for that. they also did not have a problem voting for huge tax breaks that went to the wealthiest people in this country, and they also did not have a problem voting for a medicare part-d prescription drug program written by the
insurance companies, by the way, by the pharmaceutical industry which also added to the deficit. so the point that i am making is that many of the folks who are standing up here demanding cuts in social security, medicare and medicaid voted for two wars, tax breaks for the rich and an unfunded medicare part d program. and then on top of all that, we had the wall street crash which resulted in less revenue coming in for the federal government and all of that stuff -- add all of that stuff up, you have a large deficit. so, madam president, let me conclude by simply saying this -- at a time when we have massive wealth and income and inequality in america, something we should focus on from both a moral perspective as well as an economic perspective, at a time when the middle class is disappearing and millions of people are working longer hours for lower wages, at a time when we have the highest rate of childhood poverty in the industrialized world, at a time
when senior poverty is increasing, at a time when we have 20% youth unemployment in this country, in my humble opinion, you do not balance the budget on the backs of the most vulnerable people in this country, working people, the elderly, the children, the sick and low-income people. that is not what you do. what you do do is go to those people who are doing very, very well and say to them you know what, welcome to the united states of america, you are part of our country, you are part of our economy, this country has problems now. you, if you're a large corporation, one out of four large corporations paying nothing in federal income taxes, you're going to have to start paying your taxes. you can't just stash your money in the cayman islands and in other tax havens. and if you are an extremely wealthy person doing very well, you are going to have to contribute more in tax revenue. the bottom line is we need to create jobs in this country, we need to protect the most vulnerable people in this country, and we need to do it in a way that is morally right and which makes good economic sense.
and with that, madam president, i would yield the floor. mr. cardin: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. mr. cardin: madam president, this afternoon, i joined with senator warner and senator klobuchar and senator casey to point out just how much harm was caused to this country because we are governing from one manufactured crisis to another. the cost of the government shutdown, the cost of coming so close to defaulting on our obligations, the fact that we are governing through automatic across-the-board cuts known as sequestration all have hurt our economy. it's been particularly difficult for the people in the state i represent of maryland, because
in our region we have so many federal workers, so many federal facilities. we saw during the shutdown 10% of our work force worked for the federal government, so we saw so many small businesses in our community that depend upon the federal work force that couldn't -- literally had nobody in their restaurants and their shops. consumer confidence was at an all-time low. there have been national estimates as to the amount of harm caused by these government shutdowns, standard & poor's said $24 billion was taken out of our economy as a result of the government shutdown. add that to the extra costs because we came so close to defaulting on our debt, add that to the fact that since 2011 we've been living under sequestration, the estimate is that we have lost about 900,000 jobs from this crisis management, self-inflicted crisis, i might add, madam president. the impact of that, i could
give you many, many examples but let me just give you one. i've had a chance, i'm very proud the national institutes of health are homed in the state of maryland. of course, their impact is owl all over this country, including the state of massachusetts has a major impact on the work done as n.i.h. as a result of sequestration and as a result of the government shutdown, hundreds of grants could not be awarded. i think it was 700 by sequestration alone. what does that mean? that means young researchers don't get a grant. they may stay with research, they may go to a different field. they may go to a different country. it means that maybe the cure for alzheimer's will be put back a little bit or the influenza vaccine will be put back a little bit and literally lives are at risk but also our economy is at risk because the research done there supports so many private-sector jobs. i could give you the saimple
example at f.d.a. or nist or fort meade. we go many, many examples of how our country has been harmed. you cannot govern from one manufactured crisis to another. my message is that i hope we'll get a budget agreement. i know the budget con conferees met this week that will give some predictability to our economy, eliminate sequestration and give a pro-growth budget that we invest in education and research and modern roads and bridges and transit systems. that's what we need for our country. i want to share with my colleagues what i've been doing in my own state of maryland. because i am very optimistic about america's ability to compete if we stop these self-inflicted crises. i've had this made in maryland tour i've been doing thrut the state of maryland where i visited many small businesses biz in in my state. i give credit to my colleague in the house, congressman hoyer
whose saying make it in america has caught on. so i took my friend, congressman hoyer's suggestion and i went around maryland to meet with different companies in our state and i must tell you maryland businesses are the best in the world. the best in the world. i know i'm a little biased about maryland but they're the best on innovation and creativity. let me give you a few examples that may not be self-evident like the paul reed smith guitar factory. that guitar factory is located on the eastern shore of maryland. and in a very little community, a small community called stevensonville. over 200 people work there. and they produce the best guitars in the world. they're sold all over the world. santana's car was produced there. it's now in the metropolitan museum of art, it's such an incredible instrument, not only of beauty but in sound. and it's run right here in maryland in the u.s.a.
200 jobs. that's what we've done -- over 200 jobs. let me give you another example of a company i made, the volvo mac truck plant located in hagerstown, maryland, one of the largest employers in western maryland, good-paying jobs created at volvo. they make the most efficient truck engine in the world, produced right in maryland in the united states of america. the most innovate, creative whichway to deal with the problem of efficiency on trucks. i visited the ernest mayer which makes these brick pavers and concrete. very close to where we are here in the nation's capital. i mention that because we can do manufacturing in america but they're developing the technology for pevious concrete.
it's critically important to our environment. i take great pride in the chesapeake bay and the work to clean up the chesapeake bay. one of the major sourcers for pollution comes every time we have a storm and all the runoff goes into the tributaries that lead into the chesapeake bay causing pollutants to come into the bay creating dead zones. if we have pervious concrete allowing the water to seep rather than to flow it cuts down dramatically the amount of pollution. the ernest mayer company is doing something about that, selling a product that is well received around the country. we have marlin steel in baltimore. it's a small specialty steel company. their growing -- they're growing, their product is sold all over the world, 100% of the ingredients come from the united states and it is exported around the world because it is a quality product. that's steel. steel manufactured in maryland,
united states of america, exported to other countries. atlas container is another maryland manufacturer with a national market. they're doing great, their sales are up, their employment is up. let me mention a couple areas which i think is particularly important to the presiding officer in massachusetts and that's the craft beer industry. i've been to massachusetts and enjoyed some of your craft beers. over 100,000 jobs in the craft beer industry in this country. and it's growing. you've heard about times were tough, not in the craft beer industry. it's growing. i visited flying dog in frederick and heavy seas in baltimore. they're coming out with new and seasonal beers which is keeping the market growing using creaft -- creativity intietdz intiedz having a very fine product. it's also in the wine industry. we have about 64 wineries in our state. i visited one that's in
montgomery county, maryland. most people don't know that montgomery county, maryland produces one of the best wines in this country and can compete internationally. we're very proud of what's done, sugar loaf mountain winery in montgomery county, maryland. i could go on, talk about brain stone in bethesda, some of the high-tech jobs done here. brain scope has developed a way in which they can have a portable device available in the battlefield that can tell the severity of a head wound. as to whether the warrior needs immediate attention in order to save his life because of a brain jury jurry or whether it can -- injury or whether it can be taking more time before that treatment. they have developed a portable device, very inexpensive in its operations, that is attached, gives you the type of tests necessary to determine your brain waves and determine the
severity of your head injury. the military is very appreciative of this discovery. the total cost was about $10 million to develop. and think about the lives it will save. and think about the application of this technology to our community life. i think all of us are always nervous when we see our children and grandchildren on the playing field of sporting events knowing how common head injuries are. this technology can be used on the playing field to determine the severity whether the person who has suffered a head injury ri needs to seek immediate medical attention because it's life threatening, a structural problem or just have to sit out for a while or what the severity of the injury is. that's being done in my state of maryland. that's the kind of innovation and creativity taking place in maryland and you could name dozens of other small innovative companies working in the biosciences and the life sciences and the cybersecurity
areas that are creating ways, at brain scope they started with two employees, they now have over 20. common story. these are good-paying jobs. created here in maryland in the united states of america. lyons brothers in owings mills. you see an uniform with embrehm on it, they have figured out the way in which they can produce this product used for sports gear and for the united states government, used by the boy scouts, the girl scouts, they do all that and it's right here in maryland in the united states of america. what is common in each of these companies? their innovators, they find a creative way to create and expand markets. they are creating more jobs and they're creating good-paying jobs. and i tell you,
madam president, it's particularly appropriate with the president who represents the state of massachusetts which is one of the great states for innovation and creativity, and what we could just name about every state in this country where we have seen creativity. we have duplicated this throughout our country. but the message is clear. our country can take off, but we have to give predictability to our businesses. we got to make decisions. that's why the work being done in the conference committee on the budget is so important. we can't go through another manufactured crisis, another shutdown, another threatened default on our debt. the continuation of sequestration. that needs to end. we need to have a budget that allows for the type of government partnership that allows for that type of economic growth. the basic research, the educated work force, the modern roads and infrastructure and energy systems.
that's what we need to have so that the companies i mentioned can continue to lead the world in innovation, creativity creating the good-paying jobs in america. if we act, i am confident that america will compete and win global competition. made in maryland has been a huge success, been duplicated all over our country. let us act, get our work done so we truly can make it in america. with that, madam president, i would suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. heller: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from nevada. mr. heller: tourings madam president. i rise today to address the public revelations regarding government classified government surveillance programs. before so, i would like to take a moment to honor mike lance bur rirks who died a hero's death in sparks, nevada, last weeks. after spotting a student with a
gun at the middle school, mr. lance bury moved directly in harm's way to protect his students and others from danger. he was fatally shot. mr. lance bury was an alabama native, a graduate of mcqueen high school in sparks and a decorated master sergeant in the nevada guard airmen. to his students he was a coach, a teacher and also a mentor. to his community mr. lance bury was a patriot, a father, and a friend. master sergeant lansbury leaves behind a legacy of self-sacrifice and service to his country and community. he will continue to be remembered as a great and honorable man and a feanch fath. thank you, madam president. i would also like it discuss briefly current national security agency practices. including its bulk data collection programs and the implication these programs have tube for the privacy of nevadans and millions of other
law-abiding citizens. due to published reports in newspapers rander around the wo, nevadans are well-aware that the federal government has been collecting phone data of law-abiding citizens without their knowledge. these practices are mostly authorized by section 215 of the patriot act. specifically, section 215 permits the f.b.i. to seek a court order directing a business to turn over certain records when there are reasonable grounds to believe that the information sought is relevant to an authorized investigation of international terrorism. madam president, relevance has been found by the courts to be a broad standard that, in effect, allows large volumes of data to be collected. these same records can be combed through in order to identify smaller amounts of information that are relevant to an ongoing investigation. so to put it in other words,
it's been aestablished that section 215 allows for massive amounts of data to be collected in order to find the fine knee amount of data that would solve an investigation regarding international terrorism. the courts reason that this is permitted because, when submitted, it is likely that the data will produce information that will then help the f.b.i. millions of americans' call records are collected and stored by the n.s.a. because a few numbers may solve an authorized investigation. supporters of bulk collection practices have defended this program as an important tool in the fight against terror. they have said that this is a mechanism to access the logs quickly and they are not actually listening to the content. president obama even said, and i'll quote, "when it comes to telephone calls, nobody is listening to your telephone call.
instead, the government was just sifting through this so-called met aadata" madam president, the president is right. they are not listening to the actual calls like the f.b.i. conducting a wire tavment but let me outline that the government can figure out what is going on i from those call logs. for example, they will know that an american citizen in nevada received a call from the local n.r.a. office and then called their representative and senators. but they claim that the content of that call remains safe from government intrusion. or they'll also know that a nevadan from las vegas called a suicide prevention hotline and spoke to an individual for 12 minutes. but they will not know what that person discussed. the question i have is this: why does the federal government have to house this data? and it's because i believe, madam president, that congress
has authorized a massive surrender of our constituents' privacy. i want to be clear. i share the concerns of all americans that we must protect ourselves against the threats to the homeland. i also believe that we must continue to understand that terrorism is very real and that the united states is the target of those looking to undermine the freedoms we hold as the core of our national identity. but are we sacrificing our own freedoms in the process? are we sacrificing our constitutional rights that are afforded under the 4th amendment? if so, this is a steep price to pay to protect americans from terrorism. so the next question must be, if the price to protect americans from strism an incredible loss -- from terrorism is an incredible loss of individual privacy, what are the results of this program? what has the bulk collection
program justified an intrusion of this level? the answer is that two cases have been solved in the collection of millions of records through the use of the program authorized by section 215. we know that because on october 2, 2013 the chairman of the senate judiciary committee, senator leahy, asked the n.s.a. director, keating alexander the following question. "in our last hearing, the deputy director, mr. english, stated that there's only really one example of a case where but for the use of section 215 both phone records collection, terrorist activity was stopped. was mr. english right?" to which the director, alexander, respond, "he is right. i believe he said two, mr. chairman." so congress has authorized the collection of millions of law-abiding citizens' metadata for years and it has only solved
two ongoing f.b.i. investigations. of those two investigations, the n.s.a. has publicly identified one. and in fact that case would have easily been handled by obtaining a warrant and going to that telephone company. it is the case of an individual in san diego who was convicted of sending $8,500 to so imlal in support of a terrorist organization claiming responsibility for the kenyan mall attack. the american phone records allowed the n.s.a. to determine that a u.s. phone was used to contact an individual associated with this terrorist organization. i'm appreciative that the n.s.a. was able to apprehend this individual, but it does not provide overwhelming evidence that this program is necessary. as senator rod wyden from oregon noted, the n.s.a. could have gotten a court order to get the phone records in question. so, in essence, congress has
authorized a program that invades the privacy of millions of americans with little to show for it. the results simply do not justify this massive invasion of our privacy. that is why i want to end bulk collection practices authorized under section 215 of the patriot act and i join senator leahy to introduce a bipartisan, bicameral u.s.a. freedom afnlg . this legislation, among other things, will rein in the dragnet collection of data by the national security agency. it will stop the bulk collection of americans' communications records by ending the authorization provided by section 215 of the patriot act. some in this chamber will argue that this removes a massive tool for the n.s.a. to assist the f.b.i. i disagree with that. all this legislation does is shut down the collection of millions of americans' metadata by the n.s.a.
if the f.b.i. needs a telephone number, they can go to a fisa judge and get a warrant. the phone company can still provide that data. and chances are the major phone provider will have that data, as they keep all detailed records for at least a year. when talking broadly about how certain technological developments should be incorporated in our justice system, associate justice of the supreme court william douglas once said, qut the privacy and dignity of our 12ke7bs are being whittled away by something imperceptible steps. taken individually, each step may be of little consequence. but when viewed as a whole, there begins to emerge a society quite unlike any we have seen, a society in which government may intrude into the secret regions of a person's life." unquote. here is a united states congre
congress. it is our responsibility to take great care to acknowledge each possible step that could whittle away our privacy. we must examine its necessity carefully and reasonably and in this case i do not believe such practices are warranted. madam president, we can continue to protect our americans from threats of terrorism without infringing on individual privacy that the constitution protects under the 4th amendment o amend. we should shut down bulk protection practices. with that, madam president, i thank you, and i yield the floor. and i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. mcconnell come: mr. preside? the presiding officer: the republican leader. mr. mcconnell: i ask consent that further proceedings under the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. mcconnell: i recently received a disturbing note from a constituent in burlington, kentucky. and unfortunately i suspect a lot of my colleagues have been receiving notes just like it. this gentleman said that after
receiving several letters from his insurer, it became clear to him that the president was being misleading when he said "if you like the plan you have" -- "if you like the plan you have, you can keep it." that's because he found out that his policy, which came into effect just two months after the law's arbitrary cutoff date for grandfathered plans, will be discontinued next year. and he's not happy about this at all. especially given the fact that a plan on the obamacare exchanges will dramatically drive up his insurance costs from $400 a month to more than $700 a month with zero subsidies available. here's what he had to say. he said my wife and i are 54. we don't need maternity care, and we don't need obamacare. well, he's right to be upset. this is simply not in keeping